Two Methods for finding Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs

TRADITIONAL:  The first method I will call your traditional safari game sighting method.  Using this method, you constantly scan the grassy plains looking for brown dots amidst the brown grass while you also scan all the tall trees just in case you spy a gazelle carcass draped over a tree branch that some predator has temporarily stored for later consumption and at the same time scanning all the shady spots under the trees for sleeping lions, leopards or cheetahs. 

Now occasionally one will spy a brown patch maybe 100 yards out in the plains, tell your guide to stop,  quickly grab the Nikon binoculars, focus and fine tune the glasses on the brown spot you are hoping is a critter.  Nine times out of ten it turns out to be a rotted tree stump or a collapsed anthill but then there is the 10% chance that indeed it is an animal.  Usually, as these things tend to go, it’s a hyena or a dik-diks but you still keep scanning until your eyes want to fall out of their sockets.  On that rare occasion this method will yield up a sleeping lion or a cheetah strolling through the grass. 

NEW AGE:  The second NEW AGE method, the more modern one, is to scan the horizon for jeeps.  If you see two jeeps stopped in the track, you can basically assume it’s newcomers eyeing half a dozen giraffes or a family of warthogs.  No need to alert anyone.  If it’s three or four then it’s worth a bit more investigation.  If it’s early in the spotting game game, you might be treated to a family of elephants or perhaps a hippopotamus lazing in a muddy pond.  But with this many jeeps hanging about it’s worth a trip – racing across the plains being jarred back and forth like popcorn in a hot pan – because it might just be a lion, or the elusive leopard and the even more elusive cheetah.  Lions are fairly common in the Serengeti.  Leopards and Cheetah’s – particularly the latter – are definitely at the top of the game sighting list.  If word of a sighting hasn’t yet gone out over the two-way radios all the guides have, you might be in luck.  And if it is one of the three you will spy half a dozen Jeeps – you’ve only passed two maybe three all morning thus far – emerging from the plains racing to converge of the coveted sighting spot.

But the surest way of spotting lions, leopards or cheetahs, is to look for eight to twelve beige and green Land Cruisers lining the track in one spot with all of their tops popped and dozens of tourists with their eyes and cameras all pointed in the same direction.  This, by far, is the surest way of spotting big game in the Serengeti. 

Hey, whatever works, right?


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